Sunday 22 April 2012

Labour in Carmarthenshire - will it be the Sun wot won it?

Ian ap Harri asks on Twitter, "is this the second Welsh election in a row where Labour will get away with running an irrelevant Westminster campaign, without media challenge?"

His question neatly sums up the campaign being fought by Labour in Carmarthenshire at least.

Some of the more ancient readers of this blog will remember a time when  BBC journalists with clipped accents and enormous microphones would doff their trilbies and respectfully ask the Prime Minister of the day, "Do you have a message for the nation, Sir?"

The rot set in with Robin Day who would ask all sorts of impertinent questions and try to get answers, but
for those of you who hanker after a gentler, more deferential form of intercourse between politicians and journalists, welcome to the journalistic Jurassic Park which is Carmarthenshire.

The County Council is notorious for the importance it attaches to PR and spin, and its press office churns out a relentless stream of good news stories and propaganda. On occasion this machine is used to attack and denigrate political opponents and critics of the ruling powers-that-be. Why Carmarthenshire needs a PR machine that would be the envy of some countries is a question that has never been satisfactorily answered.

All the more reason, therefore, to have a lively and inquisitive local press, but what we get instead is the following "interview" (here) with Kevin Madge, deputy leader of the Council and Labour's leading light in Carmarthenshire.

"We're well ahead of the Tories", he boasts as he pontificates on the local government elections, referring to an opnion poll commissioned by Murdoch's Sun. The Welsh contribution to that poll, if it was proportionate to the UK electorate, would be about 5%, and while it may give an insight into thinking in Manchester or Tyneside, it is hardly a barometer of public opinion in Wales, let alone Carmarthenshire.

There are, of course, no Tory councillors in Carmarthenshire now, and it is highly unlikely that there will be any more after the election results. This would only be newsworthy if Madge and his troops were running behind the Tories.

Kev wants to send a message to the coalition in Westminster, forgetting that for the last eight years he has been playing Nick Clegg to Meryl's Cameron. And the coalition in Westminster will not be in the slightest bit bothered with what happens in Wales, leave alone Carmarthenshire. Their attention will be fixed on the shires and cities of England.

The Journal could have asked him about that, or the very long list of meaningless bullet points which make up most of Labour's election manifesto here. It could have asked him about his record in supporting cuts to public services, closing schools or even about his role in the Delyth Jenkins case, when he was responsible for social care on the Executive Board.

Instead it opted for doffing its trilby.


Anonymous said...

There wa quite an intersting discussion on Radio 4 this morning concerning how a supine and reducing local press is failing to hold local politics to account. The view expounded was that failure to do so could result in increased corruption being disclosed in the future.

The Carmarthen Journal has become so meek and mild that it is hardly worth buying. If they were a bit more tenacious Im sure circulation would rise - possibly sufficient to make up for reduced advertising by CCC maybe ?

Anonymous said...

Is there any truth I wonder in the threat that was made to both publications the Llanelli Star and the Carmarthen Journal that County threatened to withdraw their advertisement from both papers if they received negative press hmmm....

Cneifiwr said...

Yes, in short. See post from 3 April with details.

Anonymous said...

well if that's the case, let them withdraw advertising. they wll have to put up with a public and political backlash and they've nobbody to blame but for themselves.

then again aren't councils obliged to publish 'statutory notices' etc?

talking of fellow madge, the problem he has is he has always been determined to keep out the tories as top of his agenda. but wasn't it he who closed kitchens in daycentres at the same time he was battling against the tories who caused damage?

then again, i saw a labour councillor driving in a pedestrian zone. the same councillor who's in the paper's saying people shouldn't be driving in pedestrianized zones and calling on the police to get tough and book them....

and that is welsh brand of labour. or should i say rabid socialists?

madge's comments is akin to a football team winning a game when they have no opposition to play against. bit odd frankly.
we are way ahead of the tories... yes, well... next!!

either blair or brown was mucking up the labour party, and the welsh labour have their own agenda that is different from the national agenda. it's a pity really because whatever happens in england will eventually have an effect on wales. always has and always does.

i had to laugh toady at the labourite smearers labeling leanne wood a communist. i shouldn't laugh really cos it's quite a serious matter. maybe the smearers ought to look at their own labour town council before they tar a brush, and look at their own communistic agendas. sad. (anon2)

Anonymous said...

more shenanigans in the ammanford southwales guardian online

the row comes in the week that Kevin Madge, Labour leader at County Hall, claimed the election campaign was the “dirtiest” he had experienced in 34 years in local politics.

Emlyn Uwch Cych said...

Alas, Labour hasn't put up a candidate in this ward for me to vote against!

By my reckoning, 20 'Independent' and 8 Labour, 20 Plaid Cymru and 2 Siân Caiach First candidates are safely back in Carmarthen gaol.

Now I think 24 council seats are still in play: Ammanford, Betws, Bigyn (2), Carmarthen South (2nd seat), Cynwyl Elfed, Dafen, Glanaman, Glanymor (2), Llandeilo, Llanegwad, Llangunnor, Llanybydder, Lliedi (2nd seat), Llwynhendy (2), Pembrey (2), Pontaman, Quarter Bach, St Clears and Tyisha (2).

I suspect, though, that by the time the dust settles around the Selwyn Samuel Centre on 4 May, the Meryl-Kevin dream team (or was that nightmare) will still be in business. Sorry, Plaid.

Anonymous said...

i don't see labour regaining pontaman. betws has a bit more of a competition this time - another plaid potential win, what with the windfarm interest.

ammanford would be a push especially with the latest news in the local papers could turn people away from labour, either that or increase the numbers not voting at all. some areas will vote labour come hell or high water. if the trend stays around the same, and remembering labour only got through with 6 votes. the general feel is get the independents out rather than get labour out. next weeks southwales guardian and the other papers will have the candidates page for the one's who haven't made their mind up.

as for the labour candidate who hasn't even bothered showing up. for some strange reason kevin madge was canvassing with the ammanford ward last time as moral support by gracing his presence as they knew there was a problem at the time. as neither have shown up this time, it'll be quite interseting

Anonymous said...

Some of the Independents and Non Affiliated Independents will have to show some balls and keep Labour /Gravell Coalition out of power - vote with Plaid lots of Independents are unhappy with the Trimsaran Iron Lady now will be the time to act !!